Jan 232020 2 Responses

How to Pursue God Together

In God’s original design, husband and wife lived in perfect harmony carrying out their God-ordained tasks as they basked in a relationship with each other and Him. Then sin happened and everything changed. It’s often forgotten that the original sin happened within the context of marriage. It could be fairly said that that the first sin was a failure of marriage. If Adam and Eve had functioned within the marriage the way they were designed–to protect one another, hold each other accountable, and to point each other toward truth–the first sin would not have happened. Instead, the first couple failed and sin entered the world.

While marriage played a part in the first sin, sin now plays a part in every marriage. Yet God’s original design has not changed. In marriage, we are still invited to enjoy a meaningful connection with each other and with God.

Yet many couples fail to do this. (See: Why Men Lose Faith)

How We Fail to Pursue God Together

When a couple fails to pursue God together, they are living contrary to their God-intended design. This doesn’t mean their marriage will be bad. It simply means they will not experience its intention to the fullest measure. Apart from just having no desire to pursue God together, here are several ways in which couples miss God’s design for their relationship.

It’s assumed but not done. Many Christian couples assume they should have a relationship with God, but they never take any intentional steps toward putting God at the center of their relationship. They assume but don’t intend. They hope but they don’t take concrete steps to make those hopes a reality.

One or both spouses fail to pursue Him individually. Each spouse having an individual relationship with God is a prerequisite to pursuing him together. You can’t do together what you aren’t doing alone.

Faith is segregated from aspects of life. The most deceiving way to fail is to segregate faith from aspects of life. A couple might worship together and serve together, but when it comes time to buy a house or make a job change, they never consider God. Outwardly they may engage in religious activities, but they never allow the teachings of Jesus to impact how they treat each other. These couples will think they are pursuing God together, but in reality, they are not.

Five Ways to Pursue God Together

If you want to pursue God together, do these five things.

1. Clearly state your intention. Don’t make assumptions. Preferably, this conversation would happen early in the dating relationship, but it can take place at any time. Let your spouse know that it is important to you that you pursue God together. Create a basic understanding of what that means and how you will operate from that understanding. (For example, we have never debated that we will give at least 10% to our local church. Why? Because we value giving as a part of discipleship.)

2. Individually grow in your faith. The best way to help your spouse’s spiritual life is for you to nourish your own relationship with God. Know and obey God’s word. Find someone to disciple you even as you disciple someone else. Grow your relationship with God and bring that relationship into your marriage.

3. Worship and serve together. While much of our spiritual lives are individual, there are some things you can do together as a couple. Worshiping and serving together are two easy actions you can take with each other. By worshiping together, we are outwardly showing our submission to God and jointly receiving His word for us. In service, we are humbling ourselves in order to assist others. A couple who doesn’t worship and serve together is highly unlikely to seek God together.

4. Apply the words of Jesus to your marriage. An often overlooked aspect of Biblical application is applying the teachings of the Bible in marriage. When Jesus tells us to forgive, love, or choose the narrow way, we quickly apply that to our individual lives, but don’t’ so easily remember that’s also a command in marriage. Consider the Sermon on the Mount as a sermon also directed toward marriage. Yes, it has an individual meaning, but it also applies to relationships, especially marriage relationships. (To see how the Beatitudes apply to marriage, see my book Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples Who Laugh, Love, and Last)

5. Let faith permeate every aspect of life. To pursue God is to seek him in every aspect of life. Following him doesn’t just mean on Sunday morning or while at church. When a couple assumes God is at work everywhere and that he can use everything to reveal Himself, it changes their marriage. A job layoff, a disobedient child, a broken relationship with a close friend all become avenues through which God can show Himself faithful and prove His way is better than our way. Nothing should be off-limits to God or beyond our consideration as a place where God is at work.

To Know Him More

Marriage is one path through which God makes Himself known. For me, it’s one of the best paths. Few places reveal my selfishness and sinfulness as much as marriage. I can fake patience, kindness, and love with a lot of people, but I can’t fake it with Jenny because she sees me in every aspect of life. This means her love and forgiveness are even more meaningful. She is in a unique position to lovingly call out my sin and point me to God’s grace. She can challenge me to trust God more and to obey Him even when I have doubts.

One of God’s greatest gifts is marriage because in the climate of committed love, we can learn more about ourselves and God. But to experience this possibility, a couple must jointly seek to know God. If they do, God will faithfully make Himself known.


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